Time Off Is For Wimps?

Time Off? Not On My Watch.

So in my absolute favorite movie of all time, Wall Street, there is this great scene where Bud Fox first meets Gordon Gekko in his office and he is telling someone on the phone that “lunch is for wimps” and shredding birthday cards. In Gekko’s world, there is no time off, there is no time when things are not in play, there is no “off switch” – everything is in play all of the time. There is no work time and play time, its only time.

In our super, hyper-connected world, where you can work from anytime, anywhere, and do anything for anyone, where does the concept of time off fit? Or working hour policies. Or anything that constrains people to a specific time and place? There are companies here who have unlimited PTO – they trust that their employees will use only as much as they need when they need to. These companies understand that work happens anywhere, anytime, anyplace and for anyone. In this super, hyper, global connected world, work is no longer a chunk of time spent sitting at a desk, Monday through Friday, 9-5. You may spend one minute working at 2am, then a few hours asleep, then work again from 5am-7am.

Work doesn’t expand in blocks to fit a fixed space, work has now exploded into huge piles of LEGO blocks, which you can fit in around life.

I was listening to a great podcast by Tim Ferris the other day when he was interviewing a famous French Canadian strength coach by the name of Charles Poliquin. Of the many, many great things that he talked about – diet, workouts, etc. one thing stood out. When Tim asked him “What would you do over?” he said, without hesitation, “I would not have worked so hard. Americans, Canadians, the British, they tend to spend too much time working. I could have gotten similar results but worked less.” So I thought: Isn’t it possible to get the same – or similar results – by working less. By blowing up our work days into work LEGO blocks which we can fit in and around our lives, don’t we live better lives, reducing our stress, and as a result, get more work done and are more productive. Isn’t it true that once we trust our employees to be adults, and let them fit their work around their lives instead of the other way around, aren’t they better employees, more loyal and work even harder?

In the new world of work – we will all be like Uber drivers – flick on when we want to work – flick off when we want to. In fact, maybe there’s a startup idea – for those companies who still don’t fully trust their employees, provide them with an app where their employees can flip on and off their availability, so that they know when they can/cannot be contacted for work, in addition to their scheduled work times.

In the new world of work, there’s no such thing as PTO or Personal Time Off, its WTO or Work Time On, and we’ll allocate it based on salary per minute.

— image: windell oskay